Physics of Soccer

Applications to Ball-Based Sports


The science and physics behind playing soccer more intellectually is the same that can be applied to many ball-based sports, such as baseball, basketball, badminton, handball, table tennis, tennis, golf, volleyball, and football.  While each sport has its own unique characteristics, the same principles of science govern movements of the ball.  Some interesting physics principles are summarized below as suggested further reading:


Motion and range of the ball are controlled by force and acceleration principles in accordance with Newton’s Laws of Motion.


The spin on the ball in bat-and-ball collision is a function of the impact force as well as the angle of the point of impact.


Surface smoothness of the ball, gravity, wind speed, and wind direction directly influence level of air resistance and the behavior of the ball in flight.


In a baseball pitch, the flight path of the ball is a function of spin, out-curve, and in-curve placed on the ball by the pitcher.


There are physics-based curvature properties on fastball, curveball, slider, and screwball.


For a given velocity of impact on the ball, the shape compression on the ball is proportional to the change in velocity of the ball.